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April 5, 2007 at 5:35 PM

Snowing in Cleveland; Bucky update

Just arrived at my hotel here in lovely downtown Cleveland where the city is experiencing weather quite appropriate for a big game. Unfortunately, that big game would be a Browns playoff contest, not an Indians home opener. It is snowing outside right now and the flurries are actually falling sideways because of the wind. Yes, an icy wind that tossed our plane around like a salad as we were trying to land. Cold? It’s 34 degrees right now, going down to 27. It’ll be 26 for tomorrow’s morning commute. High of 33, low of 25. Not good. The weather channel in my hotel tells me the temperature right now feels like 21 with the wind chill. And the “cold weather is moving in” my TV just informed me. It won’t be easy for Californians Horacio Ramirez and Jeff Weaver to grip the ball these next two days. Hard to do that when your hand is numb. The high on Saturday is only supposed to be 32 and that game starts at 7:05 p.m. What a mess!
One side benefit of taking the Seattle-Houston-Cleveland route today is that the guy sitting in the row just opposite mine was none other than Bucky Jacobsen. Haven’t seen him since researching that profile we ran back in January. Spoke on the phone with him a couple of times and he told me he’d been dissed by the Japanese League, turned down by Korea and was hoping to play in Mexico. Well, the Mexican thing apparently fell through as well until yesterday morning, when Jacobsen got a 7 a.m. phone call from a team in Tobasco (yes, they’re on a real hot streak — ha! ha!). It’s the Tobasco Olmecas, if you must know. Tobasco is a southern Mexican state on the Gulf Coast. Anyway, turns out that team has already played about a dozen games, but is in need of Jacobsen ASAP. He didn’t bother asking why, has no idea if someone got hurt. But he was on today’s 7:55 a.m. flight to Houston, then off to Mexico from there.
He booked so quickly they stuck him in a coach class middle seat. A flight attendant was able to switch him to a window, completely freaking out the 3-year-old girl who’d been sitting in the middle with her mother on the aisle. The girl was obviously terrified at the sight of a 6-foot-7, 270-pound behemoth moving in next to her, but Jacobsen handled it in stride, the Mom switched to the middle seat for takeoff and everyone calmed down within minutes. I’d have helped out, but, well, I had the opposite aisle seat. No way I’m giving that up, even for a nice guy like Jacobsen. He watched some of the last three games at Safeco on television, but admits it gets hard at times. He’s trying to look forward, not back. This stint in Mexico was about as tough as it can be for a former major-leaguer to land a playing job. But he’s making the best of it. Same guy. Wearing a T-shirt, shorts and carrying a duffel bag. He told me to pass along good wishes to former Tacoma teammate George Sherrill and he knows that many of you — through your emails — wished him good luck when we ran our story two months ago.

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